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Favourite film soundtracks?

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(@capriccio)
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Is anyone else a fan of soundtracks and film music? The birth of the film industry in the 20th Century created a new arena for classical music, an arena which exposes lots of people to classical music who otherwise might avoid it.

Two of my favourite soundtracks are 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Wit.

2001 most famously uses the opening bars of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra and Johann Strauss II's The Blue Danube. It was also the film that introduced me to the gorgeous Adagio from Aram Khatchachurian's Gayane. But it was not until much later that I realised that all the amazing soundscapes the build tension in so many scenes were mostly excerpted and adapted from music by György Ligeti (Atmosphères, Lux Aeterna, Aventures) - some of which was not credited in the film.

To me, Wit has a perfect soundtrack. It's a heart-wrenching film and the chosen music is Arvo Pärt's Spiegel Im Spiegel, the 2nd Movement from Górecki's Symphony No. 3, Charles Ives' The Unanswered Question, and the Adagio from Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 15 in E-Flat minor.

Do you have a favourite soundtrack?


   
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(@tim-h)
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I am afraid my tastes in movie soundtracks are fairly pedestrian. I have a worn-out, original pressing of the Star Wars soundtrack that I bought new when I was a teenager. I still say you can't go wrong buying a John Williams soundtrack.

I like the work Yann Tiersen did for 'Amelie'.

I like Thomas Ades' work on 'Colette'.

In general, I like the work of Nino Rota on Fellini's films and Ennio Morricone soundtracks.

I also like Johan Johansson's work, but I cannot name a single film or TV show he wrote music for.

If you're looking for ideas for listening to popular film composers, there are a number of film (and game) music works on KUSC's Classical California playlist (a listener-selected list for a Los Angeles classical radio station):
https://www.kusc.org/radio/programs/classical-california-ultimate-playlist/

Just a few of the composers I see in the list: Jeremy Soule, Elmer Bernstein, Mica Levi, Helen Jane Long, Ludovico Einaudi, Nobuo Uematsu, Michael Giacchino, Joe Hisaishi, Howard Shore, Jerry Goldsmith, Rachel Portman, Bernard Herrmann


   
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(@eldarboy)
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The TV series Brideshead Revisited and the music from Heimat 2.


   
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(@dinah)
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Hello everyone 👋

This is an interesting topic @capriccio. (I remember we had a similar discussion on the old Primephonic forum which had very interesting suggestions from our friends there!)

Film and TV music make for some great light listening when one is not in the mood for "serious" music, so to speak. Not that this genre is lesser than classical music or anything, some film music composers are indeed exceptionally talented, in my humble opinion, and there are some compositions that are becoming fixed features in modern/ contemporary classical music concerts, like this chaconne from The Red Violin film:

https://music.apple.com/eg/album/the-red-violin-chaconne-for-violin-and-orchestra/158533093?i=158533655&ls

 

Some of my personal favourite composers in this genre would be Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, Alexandre Desplat and Abel Korzeniowski... (I'm sure there are many others whose music left a good impression at the time, but they escape me now!)


   
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(@capriccio)
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I think it's worth splitting this topic into two strands: 

  1. Music written specifically as a film soundtrack
  2. Music chosen as a film soundtrack

The films I mentioned fall into the second category - pieces such as Also Sprach Zarathustra for 2001 and Spiegel im Spiegel for Wit. Sometimes film directors/music directors get it exactly right, choosing a selection of works that perfectly match the feel or the movie, or perfectly amplify the impact.

The music you've chosen, @tim-h, @eldarboy and @dinah, all falls into the first category. I'll need to listen to some of the soundtracks you've mentioned. I do like Rachel Portman, and I think I mentioned in our former discussion on the Primephonic Community that I like the work of Hildur Guðnadóttir. Much of her music is more like sound effects (sound atmospheres?), as in Chernobyl. She also wrote the original music for Joker, and it's terrifying and mesmerising. Here's one track:

 

 


   
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(@jchokey)
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Interesting topic.  I myself don't consider myself a particular "fan" of film music/soundtracks, but I do agree that effective music can really enhance a film.  I think there's an interesting distinction that can be made on this point, between movies like "2001" which incorporate existing pieces of music (classical or otherwise), and those that have original scores/soundtracks.


   
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(@jchokey)
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As for my personal favorites, Hmm...  As I don't generally listen to a lot of film soundtracks, my range is somewhat limited but here's a few:

--Howard Shore's soundtracks for the Lord of the Rings movies.  
--Probably anything by Ennio Morricone.
--Alain Goraguer's soundtrack for the wonderfully weird animated film "Fantastic Planet".*

*OK, this last one is really more in a prog-rock/jazz-fusion vein than 'classical' in spirit.  But I do love it and it works well with the trippy animation.


   
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(@jchokey)
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Oh, I just thought of two others that I really like:  Bruno Coulais's soundtrack for "Winged Migration" and Emilie Simon's soundtrack for the original French version of "March of the Penguins" ("Marche de l'empereur").  But both of those definitely move away from the 'classical' field quite a bit.....

This bit from "Winged Migration" I particularly love: 

Odd reflection. I guess I like soundtracks from French movies about birds. Smile


   
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(@capriccio)
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Posted by: @jchokey

I think there's an interesting distinction that can be made on this point, between movies like "2001" which incorporate existing pieces of music (classical or otherwise), and those that have original scores/soundtracks.

I see we posted about this at the same time!


   
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(@capriccio)
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Posted by: @jchokey

Odd reflection. I guess I like soundtracks from French movies about birds. Smile

Ya gotta start somewhere! Wink  

Posted by: @jchokey

This bit from "Winged Migration" I particularly love

It's a little Enya-like in parts - so classical cross (with birds)?

Posted by: @jchokey

--Howard Shore's soundtracks for the Lord of the Rings movies. 

Another vote for Howard Shore's work. Have you seen the Super Deluxe Premium (or whatever it's called) box set of the films? It contains a whole section on how Shore composed the music. The pressure under which film composers often work is extraordinary. He made a lot of use of leitmotifs, which I'm sure helps pull things together quickly.


   
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(@jchokey)
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Posted by: @capriccio

I see we posted about this at the same time!

So we did!


   
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(@jchokey)
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Posted by: @capriccio

It's a little Enya-like in parts - so classical cross (with birds)?

"Classical cross"  -- great term!   Thank you!


   
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(@jchokey)
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Posted by: @capriccio

Another vote for Howard Shore's work. Have you seen the Super Deluxe Premium (or whatever it's called) box set of the films? It contains a whole section on how Shore composed the music. The pressure under which film composers often work is extraordinary. He made a lot of use of leitmotifs, which I'm sure helps pull things together quickly.

I have the boxed set, but I don't believe I watched all the extras.  I will check that out!


   
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(@dinah)
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Posted by: @capriccio

I think it's worth splitting this topic into two strands: 

  1. Music written specifically as a film soundtrack
  2. Music chosen as a film soundtrack

Indeed!

And then there's a third category: music that was originally written for a film, then entered the canon proper.

I think I read somewhere that Shostakovich wrote a whooping number of Soviet era film scores! The Gadfly Suite, anyone ?!


   
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(@jchokey)
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Posted by: @dinah
Posted by: @capriccio

I think it's worth splitting this topic into two strands: 

  1. Music written specifically as a film soundtrack
  2. Music chosen as a film soundtrack

Indeed!

And then there's a third category: music that was originally written for a film, then entered the canon proper.

 

As an obsessively nit-picking categorizer, I would suggest that this might not be a third category, but a subcategory of 1. Smile

Either way, I would suggest that Prokofiev's "Alexander Nevsky" and "Lieutenant Kije" both fall into this (sub-?)category.

 


   
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